NEWS

Mosese Bulitavu, Jagath Karunaratne Are ‘Free At Last’

Opposition Member of Parliament Mosese Bulitavu and Fiji United Freedom Party leader Jagath Karunaratne were all smiles yesterday as they exited the Magistrates Court in Suva. This was after the
04 Apr 2019 10:00
Mosese Bulitavu, Jagath Karunaratne Are ‘Free At Last’
From left: Opposition Member of Parliament Mosese Bulitavu, lawyer Barbara Malimali, Fiji United Freedom Party leader Jagath Karunaratne and his lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo outside Court in Suva on April 3, 2019.

Opposition Member of Parliament Mosese Bulitavu and Fiji United Freedom Party leader Jagath Karunaratne were all smiles yesterday as they exited the Magistrates Court in Suva.

This was after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued their case on charges of sedition in 2011.

Mr Bulitavu said: “I am a free man at last.”

“I am overjoyed. I thank the Lord for his support and strength that has brought me this far. My family, friends, supporters from Macuata, around Fiji and overseas.

“I thank lawyers Barbara Malimali and Filimoni Vosarogo for my freedom. I also thank the ODPP on their decision to withdraw the case and the Attorney-General who is the Minister for Justice, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and the Fiji Corrections Service where I spent four months.

“Nothing happens that the Lord doesn’t allow to happen. I thank the Lord for all the opportunities and friends I have made,” he said.

Mr Karunaratne said: “It has been a journey that saw tears and heartache and most of all the well wishes from thousands of friends and public alike.

“I am thankful from the bottom of my heart to every single person who were involved in the case from all sides as the whole experience made me see many perspectives of life that made me who I am today.

“A very special thanks and gratitude to my beautiful wife who had to endure so much pain and suffering that I may not be able to ever reciprocate.

“Huge thanks to my lawyers Aman Ravindra-Singh and Mr Vosarogo for standing with me through thick and thin and putting all their efforts to bring the victory in the end.

“I can only be truly happy when the justice is properly served for those inmates I spent time with, with their rights restored. It has been a journey and new page of the journey begins from today,” Mr Karunaratne said.

The case

The matter had proceeded to trial in the Magistrates’ Court on May 16, 2017.

Bulitavu and Karunaratne were convicted of sedition after a trial in the Magistrates’ Court on March 26, 2018.

Bulitavu was sentenced to two years five months and 13 days while Karunaratne was sentenced to two years five months and 16 days imprisonment.

Both appealed their convictions to the High Court. The High Court allowed their appeals against conviction and ordered a retrial due to errors made by the Magistrate.

Following a review of the matter, it was decided the evidence no longer met the evidential threshold required to take the matter to court for a retrial.

Accordingly, the matter was withdrawn by way of a nolle prosequi.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Tanoa Waterfront Lautoka Fiji
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: